NBA lockout turns Orlando Magic's J.J. Redick into road warrior

With the NBA lockout in effect, the Orlando Magic's J.J. Redick shoots baskets at Stetson University (Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

The black Chevy Tahoe slows to a gentle stop. You open the front door on the passenger's side and hear Radiohead's "There, There" spilling out of the speakers, filling the cabin.

J.J. Redick shifts the SUV out of park, merges into traffic and offers his guest an apology.

"Normally my car is pristine," Redick says. "But it's my locker right now."

Two large cardboard boxes sit in the cargo area, and those boxes contain all the equipment that once filled his Amway Center stall. White-and-blue Nike high-tops jut out of one box. T-shirts and basketballs fill the other.

This is the adjustment that Redick and other NBA players have made since franchise owners imposed a lockout at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. With league practice facilities closed and a communications blackout now in effect for team staff members, the players now must take total responsibility for their offseason training routines.

The lockout couldn't have started at a more problematic time for Redick. In late May, he underwent surgery to repair two painful abdominal-muscle tears, and although the procedure went well, he needs to rehabilitate the area and the surrounding muscles.

To understand how he's dealing with the lockout, the Orlando Sentinel asked Redick for permission to shadow him during a recent weekday. He agreed.

Something became obvious shortly after Redick met a reporter and a photojournalist at 8:15 in the morning: The labor dispute tests Redick’s planning ability almost as much as his rehabilitation regimen challenges his physical toughness.

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"Somebody tweeted me that the lockout is a subsidy for the oil industry," Redick says, chuckling because it was a witty tweet. Redick also shakes his head because the oil industry indeed is profiting slightly off of his additional commuting.

With his car stereo tuned to SiriusXM's Alt Nation station — churning out songs from such bands as Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and MGMT — he'll spend almost 80 minutes today crisscrossing Orange and Seminole counties on his way to and from five different appointments.

It starts with a drive to Rollins College in Winter Park to work on his shooting.

He grabs his sneakers and a ball from the back of his SUV and he walks briskly into the Harold and Ted Alfond Sports Center, the site of the school's two primary gyms.

He takes a few steps onto the main basketball court and sees volleyball nets set up from one end of the floor to the other.

Gotta go instead upstairs to McKean Gymnasium, where Rollins' intramural teams play.

Volleyball nets run lengthwise down the center of the court.

"So we've got to shoot on the side goals," Redick says.

Brock Blanchard, a former Rollins forward and a current graduate assistant coach for the men's team, walks into the gym. Redick has hired Blanchard to rebound and pass the ball — basically doing the work that Magic assistant coach Bob Beyer and Magic assistant video coordinator Adam Glessner do simultaneously with Redick during the offseason.